Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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Can I hand in my notice at work and then claim ESA?

Benny5000Benny5000 Member Posts: 5 Listener
Hi I would like some advice.

I just started a new job, I lasted one day before I had an emotional/mental breakdown, I have sought Doctors advice and have been signed off with acute stress for 2 weeks.
I will probably be signed off for more as I don't think I can cope.
I have also been referred to an NHS Psychologist (on a waiting list).

I don't think I am mentally able to return to work as it fills me with dread and terror just thinking about my work place or any work place at present.
It's a highly pressurized job and I don't think I could handle it without doing something stupid to myself.

My question is, As I have sought medical advice and have been referred to a councilor/Psychologist to sort myself out, can I hand in my notice (only one week is required) and then claim ESA?

Many thanks for your help.



  • Ami2301Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,753 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @Benny5000
    Welcome to the community! Sorry to hear you're having a really tough time. Unfortunately I am unsure but another member of the community may know and will be in contact with you soon. I wish you all the best :)
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • Liam_AlumniLiam_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 1,113 Pioneering
    Hi @Benny5000,

    Welcome to Scope's online community! It's great to have you here. :)

    I'm sorry to hear this - it sounds like a really tough time for you. Have you spoken to your employer about the problems you've been having, and considered asking for some reasonable adjustments?

    We also have some useful information about managing stress at work which might be of interest to you.

    @Gill_Scope, would you be able to advise further, please?
  • Benny5000Benny5000 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Hi all thanks for your replies.
    I don't tho k I'll be able to return to this role as it's a highly pressurised role within the care sector.
    I was kidding myself when I thought I could do it.
    I've been sick with worry, I don't think there would be any way I could ask for adjustments to the role due to the nature of the business.
    I'm just not cut out for it any more.
    I just need time to sort myself out.
  • mikehughescqmikehughescq Member Posts: 6,637 Disability Gamechanger
    The answer will depend on your employment record prior to this work. Contributory ESA is not affected by the reasons you left your employment. Means-tested ESA is.
  • Benny5000Benny5000 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    I should be able to claim as prior to me starting this new job, I was employed for at least 2 years, (I was on a zero hour contract though).
  • Benny5000Benny5000 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    I guess my question is, Can I claim ESA (or any benefits), if I hand in my notice?

    I have a fit note that covers 2 weeks, I'll getting another one after that.
    I have to see a NHS Psychologist and bereavement councilor, and these things will take time I know, I'm just so stuck financially I don't know what to do.

  • PhilipPhilip Member Posts: 37 Courageous
    Yes you can claim ESA as long as your G.P considers you as unfit for work,  however, what you need to find out is if you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay from your employer, are you handing Fit Notes into your employer & receiving wages, if not, you should contact an organisation like Welfare Rights or Citizens Advice to find out if your employer should pay you. After that if you not entitled to any payment you could claim ESA, but only if you are considered unfit for Work. 
  • Benny5000Benny5000 Member Posts: 5 Listener
    Philip thank you.
    I think under the circumstances I am facing, I will out of work for a while.
    I am glad I have seen a sympathetic doctor who can see and understand my issues.

    Would it be wise to be honest with my employers, admit to them I can not undertake the role due to my health and hand in my notice?
  • poppy123456poppy123456 Member Posts: 22,218 Disability Gamechanger
    IF SSP isn't payable. To claim Contribution based ESA will depend on the national insurance you've paid in the previous 2 tax years from working, if you haven't paid enough then you won't be able to claim this.

    Income Related ESA will depend on household income...ie, do you live with a partner that works? If you do and your partner works 24 hours or more per week then you won't be entitled to claim this. 

    If you haven't paid enough MI contributions and you don't live with a partner that works, you'll need to check if your area is a full Universal Credit area, if it is then it's UC you need to claim. 

    As stated being paid either Income related ESA or UC will depend on the reasons for leaving your job, if they're not accepted then there will be a sanction. 
    Proud winner of the 2019 empowering others award. This award was given for supporting disabled people and their families for the benefit advice I have given to members here on the community.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 273 Pioneering
    Hi poppy123456 and hi Benny5000

    It would be harsh to sanction someone who left a job for health reasons. 

    I suggest making sure that you have access to medical evidence from your GP, to the effect that you had to leave for health reasons, so that you could ask for a letter to be written by the GP if you need it. 

    Do other people have experience of a sanction for leaving work for health reasons and then claiming ESA?


  • susielockettsusielockett Member Posts: 53 Courageous
    Hi poppy123456 and Benny5000

    I was in a similar position (also in the care sector but had worked there for 7 years) I was on the sick for appx 3 months then called ESA and the guy told me over the phone he was putting me on it that day but must hand my notice in from the day before which I did. You do have to wait for your first payment but its worth it in the end. Done stay somewhere thats making you ill. Call ESA and hopefully they would be able to advise you on the next course of action. Good luck
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